WA Taste Master’s adventures on film
WA’s Taste Master Rich Keam has teamed up with expert local guides to help spread the word about Perth’s amazing food and wine. Some of Rich’s culinary journey has been captured on film and features him catching and cooking fresh Rottnest lobster with local restaurateur Kiren Mainwaring, learning the art and history of craft beer making in Fremantle with Feral Brewing Co, exploring Northbridge with Beaufort Street Festival food curator Laura Mosely, and meeting up with local food blogger Whitney Ng. Rich’s journey as Taste Master in WA has come to an end, which saw him travel more than 20,000 kilometres, and visit more than 35 towns and more than 100 restaurants, bars, cafes, wineries, breweries and cider houses.
Pop-up dining with native ingredients
Fervor, created by WA siblings Bree and Paul Iskov, is a new and unique dining concept in the form of a travelling pop-up restaurant focusing on freshly foraged ingredients. In February, Fervor will be hosting a series of pop-up dinners around the Margaret River region – in Lake, Jewel and Mammoth Caves, and the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. Guests will be taken on an eight to ten course culinary journey where native ingredients such as paper bark, midjim berry and marron will be transformed into mouth-watering degustation plates. The Fervor concept was fuelled by a passion for native edibles and a deep love and respect for the diverse natural bushland throughout WA, and particularly the Margaret River region.
New hotel for Fremantle
A new hotel has opened in the port city of Fremantle, which is a 20-minute drive from Perth city. The Hougoumont Hotel officially opened in late November, and offers affordable luxury in a prime location on Bannister Street, a short walk to Fremantle’s ‘cappuccino strip’, and other attractions such as galleries, the Fremantle Markets, Fremantle Prison, gourmet dining, Bathers Beach, The Roundhouse and more. Each room combines luxurious comfort with smart TV’s, free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee making facilities, complimentary wine and Hors d’oeuvre’s for guests each weekday evening, personalised pillow menus, personal trainer on request, onsite parking and more. The hotel also has conference and meeting facilities.
Lifestyle and culture
Join the pilgrimage to Albany in November 2014
The international spotlight will be on Albany in WA’s South West in November 2014 when the historic and picturesque coastal city hosts the first in a series of commemorative and community events as the curtain raiser to the Anzac Centenary period. To honour the first ANZACs, a significant program of events is planned in Albany between October 30 and November 2, 2014. Albany played a key role in World War One as it was the final departure point for many Australian and New Zealand soldiers. A commemorative event program and community events are planned, along with the official opening of the Anzac Interpretive Centre at the Princess Royal Fortress. Albany is one hour by air from Perth or a four and a half-hour drive and boasts awe-inspiring coastline, stunning landscapes, and abundance of gourmet attractions with cosmopolitan cafes and bars, slow food, markets, wineries, olive oils, and organic produce.
New art at the Art Gallery of WA
The Art Gallery of WA, located in the Perth Cultural Centre just outside of Perth’s central business district, has opened a new exhibition of contemporary art acquisitions. IMPACT showcases a selection of the acquisitions to the State Art Collection with a focus on video works, together with sculpture, paintings and works on paper. It brings together internationally renowned filmic artists such as Jesper Just, Hale Tenger, Michael Snow and Richard Grayson with Australian artists engaging with sound and moving image aesthetics such as Gabriella and Silvana Mangano, Angelica Mesiti. It coincides with extended opening hours at the Gallery – during February, it will be open until 7pm, to coincide with the Fringe World Festival and the Perth International Arts Festival. Visitors can also take guided tours, see pop-up music performances, or visit the gallery shop and café.
Western Australia to be home to the country’s richest film prize
Western Australia will be home to Australia’s richest film prize next year with film festival CinéfestOZ offering a new $100,000 prize for an Australian feature film as part of its 2014 program. CinéfestOZ started in 2008 to celebrate the South West’s early exploration by the French and the strong film making cultures of both France and Australia. Held in the South West town of Busselton, CinéfestOZ will be held from August 20 to 24, 2014. Visitors can join filmmakers, film stars and film lovers for a five-day cultural adventure with the latest offerings from the Australian film world; a French film selection, and short films, documentaries, community screenings and more.
Degrees of Connection exhibition
Renowned West Australian artists Nadeen Lovell and Kimberley Kohan are exhibiting their Degrees of Connection works at Melbourne’s Tacit Gallery from February 26 until March 16. Degrees of Connection reflects the journeys of the two artists as they’ve experienced the world — across continents and time zones, seasons and cultures — being inspired by the windswept plains of Mongolia, the icebergs of the Antarctic and the tropical mystery of Madagascar, but mostly by the rugged majesty of WA’s North West — the Pilbara and the Kimberley.
Food and Wine
Perth food festivals in April and May
Next May will be a culinary feast in Perth, as two food and wine festivals happen across the city. The City of Perth will again host its annual month-long food and beverage celebration Eat Drink Perth from April 1 to 30, while Brand Events Australia will facilitate the inaugural Taste of Perth festival from May 1 to 5. Together, the events represent 36 days of food and wine activities
New chef at Cape Lodge
Michael Elfwing is the new Executive Chef at the multi-award winning Cape Lodge Restaurant, which is located in WA’s Margaret River Wine Region. Hailing from Sweden, Michael has worked for many years with legendary chef Cheong Liew at the celebrated Grange in Adelaide and has also done time at the world-famous Fat Duck restaurant with Heston Blumenthal, as well as at other European Michelin kitchens. Michael was handpicked by Cheong Liew to open his signature restaurant in Kuala Lumpur and has for the past five years been the creative force at Senses restaurant – recently nominated in the prestigious 2013 Pellegrino Top 50 restaurants in Asia. Michael’s culinary training is French and he enjoys molecular gastronomy, foraging and culinary interpretations of his Nordic heritage. Food and wine pairing is also a great passion for Michael who has completed his Professional Sommelier training certificate, and is a strong believer in using fresh local produce and creating seasonal menus that reflect a sense of place. As well as the restaurant, Cape Lodge also features 22 rooms and suites, a private luxury residence, tennis court and swimming pool, set among sprawling, manicured gardens.
A taphouse with a twist
Swings Taphouse & Kitchen is the latest bar and restaurant to open in Margaret River, in WA’s South West. On the town’s main street, the Taphouse & Kitchen is the latest edition to the Swings & Roundabouts family – a well-known winery in the region. Open from 10am daily, the venue serves brunch, lunch and dinner with Swings & Roundabouts wine available on tap, delivered by ‘sight glass fonts’ (a world first), and served by the glass, half carafe or carafe. There’s also a selection of ‘guest backyards’ wines, cocktails and beers, and the menu is simple and rustic, designed for sharing, and with an emphasis on fresh, local and sustainable produce.
Swan Valley food and wine festival
After the success of the inaugural event last year, the Valley and Vines festival will return in 2014. Held in the Swan Valley, WA’s oldest wine growing region and only a 25-minute drive from Perth, the festival will see wine lovers choose from four participating boutique venues (Ugly Duckling Wines, Jarrah Ridge Wines, Carilley Estate and Duckstein Brewery) with festival goers setting their own itinerary depending on their desire, tastes and interests. There will be a 90 minute ‘session’ at each location, with a 30 minute break in between each for travel. Each venue will offer its local choice of wine or beer, and have a variety of food and live entertainment on offer. The festival is on from Saturday April 5, from 11.00am to 4.30pm.
Manu Feildel and Stephanie Alexander added to Ord Valley Muster line-up
Celebrity chef and My Kitchen Rules judge Manu Feildel, and one of Australia’s great food educators, Stephanie Alexander will be heading to WA’s East Kimberley region in May as part of the Argyle Diamonds Ord Valley Muster. Manu, together with WA chef Don Hancey and special guest Stephanie Alexander, will host the Kimberley Kitchen on the banks of Lake Kununurra on May 21. Manu will have an A to Z of local ingredients at his fingertips, sourced from the region’s massive food bowl, showing guests how he incorporates this stunning local produce into his signature dishes. He will also host the exclusive long-table Durack Homestead Dinner held under the Kimberley night stars at the historic Durack homestead. Stephanie Alexander will conduct cooking demonstrations and food conversations on Sunday May 18 at the Moon Fair, and run garden-based workshops with children during the week. The festiva runs from May 16 to 25 and will feature more than 30 spectacular events across ten exciting days, including the Airnorth Kimberley Moon Experience with Eskimo Joe, The Waifs and John Williamson.
Tours, attractions and accommodation
Nature-based tourism boosted in Margaret River
Eco-tourism in the Margaret River region has been boosted with the opening of the redeveloped Wharncliffe Mill Bush Retreat in Bramley National Park. The upgraded retreat now includes four new lodge rooms, three new forest cottages and 44 bush caravan/camping sites. Wharncliffe Mill also offers a nature-play space and an Aboriginal-themed meeting place, with cultural learning experiences presented by Aboriginal guides. The $1.2 million redevelopment is part of the Naturebank program, which is a joint initiative between the Department of Parks and Wildlife and Tourism WA. Read the media release.
Travel package to experience the Margaret River Pro
As part of the 2014 Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, Bookshop Travel has created a travel package which will showcase the highlights of the event, along with the region’s food and wine experiences. The package is a 12-day tour, and includes surf lessons with some of Australia’s finest surfing instructors, VIP access to the event, and a series of exclusive behind-the-scenes food and wine experiences. The tour will be led by Carli Ratcliff, a keen surfer and food writer who is well acquainted with the region, and Carol Crenna – a bespoke travel specialist. The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro will be held at Margaret River’s Surfer’s Point from April 2 to 13 and is now part of the ASP World Championship Tour.
Ascott opens Citadines-Branded Residence in Perth
The Ascott Limited (Ascott) has launched its second Citadines Apart’hotel in Australia. The new Citadines St Georges Terrace Perth has opened following a $5.1 million and five-month refurbishment of the former Somerset St Georges Terrace Perth. Located in the heart of Perth’s central business district, the property has 85 studio and one-bedroom apartments, with fully equipped kitchen/kitchenette, living area’s and modern amenities such as complimentary WiFi, home entertainment system and flat screen TV. Contemporary art pieces by local artists Nick Stratham and Kyle Hughes are featured throughout the hotel.
Hot deal at Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort
Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort has some all-inclusive ‘hot deals’ currently on offer. The deals are for travel between now and March 31; then April 28 to June 30. A minimum three-night package includes accommodation in a beach side dolphin unit or garden villa, daily breakfast, lunch (one course with drinks), dinner (two courses with drinks), and drinks during ‘happy hour’. Rates are from $499 for adults, $249 for children (six to 12 years) and $125 for infants/toddlers (one to five). Located at Dolphin Beach in the heart of the World Heritage listed Shark Bay, Monkey Mia has attracted schools of dolphins to its tranquil shores daily for more than 40 years, with the area famous for its kilometres of secluded crystal blue waters and pristine beaches.
Faraway Bay opens season with one-off special
Remote wilderness retreat Faraway Bay, in WA’s Kimberley region, has been on the receiving end of a spectacular amount of rainfall, leading to an exclusive ‘end of wet season’ package deal. It’s believed the rains will produce incredible waterfalls, and potentially superb Barramundi fishing. New attractions at Faraway Bay in 2014 include a rustic handcrafted wood-fired pizza oven, roasts and fresh breads, plus a fully-inclusive scenic flight over King George Falls on journeys to and from Faraway Bay. The twin King George Falls is WA’s highest waterfall, which every guest of Faraway Bay experiences up close by boat, and now also by air. The package deal offers a 20 per cent discount on standard rates, plus complimentary resort accommodation overnight in either Kununurra or Darwin. It’s valid for bookings made before February 28 for visits taken before April 30, 2014 and packages start from $3,464 per person for three nights, fully inclusive of return air transfers ex-Kununurra, all gourmet meals and beverages, and all tours and activities. Faraway Bay is a unique wilderness retreat nestled on a rocky hilltop overlooking the Timor Sea
in the remote north Kimberley region, some 280 kilometres north-west of Kununurra.
Experience the waterfalls of the Kimberley
The Berkeley River Lodge in WA’s North West has released its ‘waterfall package’ for March and April. The lodge is the region’s newest remote luxury lodge, and the package includes four-night’s accommodation in a luxury villa, return scenic sea plane transfers from Kununurra, all gourmet meals and beverages, and tours such as waterfall river cruises, guided bush hikes, fishing adventures and beach/bush four-wheel-drive tours. The Kimberley was recently named as the number two destination to visit in 2014 in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014.
New eco accommodation in Margaret River
St Allard Eco Resort is a new resort located just ten minutes’ drive out of Margaret River in WA’s South West. Set against natural forest, St Allard Eco Resort offers six chalets and a lakeside restaurant, golf course, tennis court, paddle boats and peaceful nature walks.
Feature – The Perth Hills – a great day-trip destination
Scattered throughout the wide fertile ranges of the Darling Scarp and only 45 minutes east of Perth city centre, you’ll find the stunning scenery, meandering drives and vibrant villages that make up the Perth Hills. While the Hills are part of the city, visitors will find the region and its character townships exude a country charm and views that are simply astounding.
The world famous Bibbulmun Track starts in the hills stretching 1,000 kilometres from Kalamunda to Albany. The tree-lined village of Mundaring is one of the major towns of the Perth Hills and makes a wonderful day trip or weekender for visitors to the region. In town, you can stop off at the Mundaring Visitor Centre where you can learn about the history of the region and pick up a variety of maps highlighting the large amount of activities and attractions to be found. Just out of town you will find the vast water reserve of the Mundaring Weir and the Perth Hills Discovery Centre where you can learn about native flora and fauna. You can also picnic at any number of stunning parks in the area.
Kalamunda town centre is also particularly appealing, with its gift stores, character eateries and quaint village feel. Art, music and history play a big part here with several heritage building sites in town and the Zig Zag Cultural Centre, where visitors can learn more about the history, culture and attractions of the area. A visit to the town library will reward you with views of the largest community-built stained-glass window in Australia, and if you are visiting on the first Saturday of the month, be sure to drop in on the village market or on Sunday morning’s, the Kalamunda Farmers Markets are held, showcasing fresh produce from local farmers and growers.
Kalamunda is also a great staging point for visiting the breathtaking Bickley and Carmel Valleys renowned for their wine and local produce. Considering its Mediterranean climate of hot dry summers and cool wet winters, and with the first vineyards in the region planted in the 1880s, it comes as no surprise that the Perth Hills now boasts a well-established wine scene with each part of the hills having their own distinct wine trails for you to discover.
The Mundaring Hills Wine Trail will lead you through the forests and gullies of Darlington, Glen Forrest, Mt Helena and Wooroloo to some of the oldest wineries in the region and continuing further south, the Bickley-Carmel Valley Wine Trail touts seven wineries including some fine examples of sparkling wine made in the French tradition. Cellar doors are open most weekends and public holidays and you can set your tastebuds dancing with a good selection of wine varieties.
Visitors to the Perth Hills will also be impressed by the range of excellent restaurants and the level of sophisticated accommodation to be found. There are gracious country bed and breakfasts, spa retreats and private luxurious hideaways. While you’re in the Hills, try retreating to the national parks and the cool of the forests to indulge your love of the natural environment. The hills are blessed with a series of more than 40 bike and walk trails, as well as scenic lookouts and picnic spots.
Ten things to do in the Perth Hills
• Enjoy a picnic or barbecue, canoe or swim at Lake Leschenaultia
• Experience the beauty of the area’s national parks and State forests
• Get on the Munda Biddi Cycle Trail in Mundaring which winds through some spectacular scenery on its journey south
• Follow the Perth Hills Wine Trail to sample some local wines
• Explore the Mundaring Weir Precinct and No 1 Pump Station
• Browse through the region’s arts and crafts studios
• Take a guided spotlight tour at Karakamia Wildlife Sanctuary
• Get ‘Nearer to Nature’ with a range of outdoor activities at the Perth Hills Discovery Centre
• Walk the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail, KEP Track or world-famous Bibbulmun Track
• Learn more about the colourful history of the area at the District Museum.